Colorado is becoming so alluring to those hoping to cash in on cannabis that even cartoon characters are joining the green stampede.
Zonker Harris, the unrepentant stoner who has lounged around the "Doonesbury" comic strip for roughly four decades, is journeying to Colorado to become a "bajillionaire" marijuana producer, bringing along his underachieving and aimless nephew, Zipper.
In Tuesday's strip, "Doonesbury" artist/author Garry Trudeau revealed what might be -- if their GPS doesn't fail them -- their ultimate destination.
"Uncle Zonk has set his sights on a sweet little grow outside of Boulder!' Zipper clued in his roommate, Jeff.
"Sounds awesome," Jeff replied, to which Zipper said, "We're not chasing the American dream, dude. It's chasing us!"
News of their itinerary appears to be something short of awesome from the perspective of the Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"We don't have a comment about this," said Kim Farin, the bureau's communications director, who learned of Zonker's pipe dream on the radio Tuesday while readying for work.
This is hardly the first time a well-known figure of fictional pop culture has chosen to make Boulder or its environs his reality. There was, of course, Mork from Ork, the displaced alien of the "Mork and Mindy" television series, who settled here, in a house on Pine Street.
Much more recently, Michael Scott, the fictional boss from the NBC show "The Office," played by Steve Carrell, chucked his career at the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pa., to head for Boulder.
Michael Scott was much more warmly received by the Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau, with Farin saying at the time, "There's a lot of opportunity for an experienced paper salesman here."
'Reflected in popular culture'
Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, admitted to not really knowing the context of the plans announced by Zonker Harris -- whose previous careers included nanny and competitive tanner.
Tvert, a major proponent of Colorado's Amendment 64, which legalized small-scale possession and consumption of marijuana for people 21 and older, said "I think that more than half the people in America now recognize that marijuana should be legal for adults, and we're seeing that shift in attitude being reflected in popular culture."
He added, "Maybe Garry Trudeau has visited Boulder. I don't know."
An unspecified "sweet grow" outside of Boulder could encompass a lot of turf, of course.
Lafayette City Council member Pete d'Oronzio, who has read "Doonesbury" over the years, chuckled at some length upon hearing Zonker's business plan.
"I'm sure he would be welcomed by some and probably not by others," said d'Oronzio, when he stopped laughing.
While he thinks Zonker could get a warm reception from some members of the public, he pointed out that the character's mellow could be harshened by the stark reality of Lafayette's eight-month moratorium, passed Feb. 5, on businesses that sell or allow the consumption on site of marijuana.
That moratorium put the issue into a holding pattern for Lafayette while Colorado officials establish statewide guidelines for establishing guidelines and regulations for implementing Amendment 64.
Nobody's going to know about the rules and regs (for implementation) until October," d'Oronzio said. "We're going to wait to see what the state decides and build on that."
If Zonker doesn't want to wait on Lafayette, he could move his site selection in any number of directions. Say, for example, Louisville.
"This is a question I did not see coming," said Louisville Mayor Bob Muckle, once he stopped laughing.
"I think we'd be open to any law abiding citizen who wants to live in or around Louisville, and since you can legally (grow), at least in the vicinity of Louisville. We haven't determined yet whether we are going to allow (marijuana) grows in the city or not."
Louisville, like Lafayette, is waiting to see what rules are set by the state before licensing anything beyond its existing medical marijuana business.
"I don't want to prejudge, but I'm sure he'll be able to at least grow in the vicinity of Louisville."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Charlie Brennan at 303-473-1327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.